Often a life insurance claim is denied when the insurance company determines that the death was the result of suicide. A problem defining suicide arises in so-called "suicide by cop" cases. While suicide by cop will serve as the grounds for denial of life insurance claims, homicide or an accidental shooting by a police officer will not. Therefore, the distinction as to the two causes of death may be vital for a life insurance beneficiary claiming death benefits.
The problem of labeling deaths is a common one and in some instances may be resolved only by filing an appropriate action in court. The case of Michael illustrates how the insurance company determination that the death was suicide by cop rather than homicide denies the widow life insurance benefits. The police arrived at Michael's house to arrest him for assaulting his stepson. According to the police, Michael brandished a gun, turned off the porch light and rushed into the darkness, crouching as if he was armed with a rifle. He was shot after police said they had no choice but to resort to deadly force. The police later confirmed that Michael was holding an umbrella, not a rifle. The widow's life insurance claim was denied on the grounds that Michael's death was not accidental, but a natural and probable consequence of his acts and, therefore, suicide.
Generally, suicide is death by self-inflicted injury. Many insurance policies have provisions denying paying death benefits to suicide victims, others have provisions outlining if death by suicide occurs in the first two years a claim will not be paid, but will be if it is after the two-year period. A life insurance policy is designed to protect beneficiaries in the event of the death of the insured. If your right to receive death benefits was denied or delayed, you may still recover life insurance proceeds with the help of an experienced life insurance benefits attorney. Our firm represents clients whose claims were denied for various reasons. We help them receive the benefits to which they are entitled under the law. Our life insurance lawyers focus on protecting the rights of the decedent's family to recover life insurance benefits. Contact us now for your free consultation with an experienced life insurance attorney.